Fluoride lettering sign made with colorful background and white ceramic letters.

Fluoride: Proven to Prevent Dental Decay

While you may have always heard that fluoride is a good thing for your teeth, you may have never known any details about why that is. There is no doubt that access to fluoridated drinking water is one of the most significant public health achievements of the entire century, but you may want to find out exactly what kind of impact fluoride in your community water really has.

Fluoridation of Water Study

A recent study published in “Journal of Dental Research” considered the impact of fluoride in community water. This new research is especially important because the last several decades have lacked major studies regarding fluoridation of water.

This study, which was called “Water fluoridation and dental caries in U.S. children and adolescents,” focused on how fluoridated water impacts young children and teenagers who are still growing. Children and teens are especially vulnerable to cavities for several reasons. One of the most significant of these reasons is simply that kids tend to brush more carelessly. Even though children and teens may be well aware of good dental hygiene habits, they may be in a rush to get back to their life and neglect to brush and floss as well as they should. For this reason, fluoridated community water is an especially big benefit for children and teenagers who regularly suffer from cavities.

The Information Used in the Study

The “Water fluoridation and dental caries in U.S. children and adolescents” study looked at county estimates of the population that currently has access to community water fluoridation according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Water Fluoridation Reporting System. This information was then added to information taken from dental exams over the last decade (the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.)

What the Results of the Study Can Tell Us About Fluoride

The analysis of this combined information revealed something that was already strongly suspected: Children and teenagers in the United States who regularly drink fluoridated community water have a lower chance of having cavities than those who never drink fluoridated water or those who don’t have regular access to fluoridated water.

In fact, the study revealed that in counties where more than 75% of the residents have and use fluoridated community water regularly, there was a 30% drop in the amount of cavities that they experienced overall. In areas where less than 75% of the county residents were able to get access to (and regularly use) fluoridated community water, there was only a 12% drop in the amount of dental cavities in the population. The results of this study are consistent with those of previous studies, emphasizing the benefits of having fluoride in drinking water and in community water in general.

The current study is especially noteworthy in that it focused on the benefits of fluoridated community water in different age groups with a particular emphasis upon young people. The most dramatic benefit of having fluoridated water appears to be in the early years of life. The “Water fluoridation and dental caries in U.S. children and adolescents” study showed that children in the 2-8 age range (as in, those who still have some or most of their baby teeth) get an especially significant benefit from using fluoridated water. Having healthy and strong baby teeth helps lay the groundwork for healthy and strong adult teeth later in life.

The Conclusion: Fluoride in Your Water is a Great Thing For All Ages

Ultimately, the “Water fluoridation and dental caries in U.S. children and adolescents” study supported previous findings very clearly and made it more obvious than ever that fluoride is a great thing for all ages. The younger that your child is, the most benefit that they stand to gain from using fluoridated water.

The American Association for Dental Research stated that they support the fluoridation of community water for cavity prevention after seeing the results of this study and previous studies.

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